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'Tickets' to German parking fines

2012-02-02 06:44

NO PARKING: A German city official erects a "no parking" sign as violaters in Potsdam enjoy their current good fortune.

POTSDAM, Germany – The authorities in this city are giving parking transgressors an unexpected break by issuing tickets without fines.

The tickets issued for carelessly parked cars include a fine of 0 euros and the cheerful message "Glueck gehabt!!!" (Lucky you!!!). The new approach is designed to admonish motorists without hitting them in the wallet.

Regina Thielemann, a city of Potsdam spokeswoman, explained: "The tickets serve as a warning to parking offenders. They're issued when the driver isn't around so they're given written notice when they'd ordinarily get a verbal warning."


Potsdam, the state capital of Brandenburg just outside Berlin, earned around 1.2-million euros from parking fines in 2011 with about 120 000 parking notice issuedr.

In Germany - a country known for its fondness for obeying rules and punishing offenders - Potsdam's penalty-free tickets have caught the attention of the national media. One recipient, Kathrin Bach, said her initial reaction to finding a note on her windscreen was one of annoyance - until she read the message.

"I thought 'Oh no - another ticket'," she told Germany's Bild newspaper. "I've paid loads of parking fines before because there are so few parking spaces in the area.”.

Bach's offence - parking less than five metres from a road junction - should have cost her 10 euros, according to the city's parking rules.


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